When the schedules were released last season for the 2012 football season Nov. 3rd was circled by fans and the public for the potential colossal showdowns between Oregon at USC and Alabama at LSU.
Oregon hasn't played a bad game yet this season and that stems from Oregon's daily focus on the task at hand.
Flash forward to this Tuesday and both gigantic matchups have shrunk to lesser standards with both LSU and USC falling victim to losses. That however doesn’t devalue the importance of each game for Oregon and Alabama. Both teams are still playing for a shot for a national title game appearance and conference titles.
“Every game counts - the playoffs started in the first week of the season. When you lose you are done. It tumbles and goes, it’s not hard for our guys to figure that part out,” Chip Kelly said Tuesday on his young team buying into taking the season one game at a time. “If you want to have a vision of what you want get done and get accomplished then you better take each game as it’s the Super Bowl.”
Both Oregon and Alabama have been able to manhandle every opponent they’ve faced this season with no slowing down. Oregon’s offense leads the nation in scoring with 53 points per game and most of that comes in the first half. Meanwhile Alabama is playing their typical stingy defense shutting teams down and making them one dimensional and feasting on mistakes. Both Kelly and Alabama’s head coach Nick Saban believe in their respected teams focusing on the task at hand that day instead of looking forward and it has paid off every year.
“To us its a real simple formula, I don’t understand how other people look at it differently,” says Kelly. “No matter who you are, Florida lost and they bounced out. They lost to a one loss Georgia team that was bounced out. All those one loss teams are hoping all the undefeated teams lose so they could bounce back in. Once you lose you take it out of your hands.”
Kelly credits his players for being able to realize the importance of every game and that’s led to the Ducks putting together good game after good game. Following Saturday’s 70-14 thrashing of 1-7 Colorado Oregon offensive coordinator Mark Helfrich said the Ducks had their best Monday practice ever and it set the tone for the week. That focus on each week’s opponent regardless of status is paying off now.
“I think its a very very simple formula. I think we have kids that are intelligent enough that understand that,” said Kelly. “If you lose you are in someone elses hands and if you can take care of business and pick your head up in December and you’ve taken care of business probably good things are going to happen for you.”
The Ducks will play USC Saturday at 4 pm and will look up sometime around 8 pm and pick their heads up hoping to be 9-0 and still in that hunt for a national title.